Friday, March 15, 2013

Obama – Is War With Iran to be His Final Conflict? – President cites need to retain Iran’s nuclear capabilities – The Not So Obvious Hawk in the White House

President Obama, weighs strike on Iran - image CBSLocal DC

President Obama is heading to Israel – and has noted in a recent interview “Right now, we think it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close,” he said. “So when I’m consulting with Bibi (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) as I have over the last several years on this issue, my message to him will be the same as before: `If we can resolve it diplomatically that is a more lasting solution. But if not I continue to keep all options on the table.” (Washington CBS News)

It is time for that “red line in the sand” to be taken more seriously – and apparently, with the statement “all solutions on the table” (should a year of diplomacy fail), conjures up images of a yet another potential U.S. engagement overseas – one which might have been avoided. First, it goes without saying that diplomacy and Iran are not usually residing the same hemisphere – and secondly – “all options on the table” is a hawkish term – generally meaning military use of force. One might then be able to add Iran to and increased incursion into Afghanistan to the Obama Presidential Legacy at some point in the future. However, it remains to be seen if Iran will be challenged by this administration, or, more to the point, in conjunction with the UN – together - with more than strongly worded memo’s telling those that would blow up the world, starting with Israel, to cease and desist.

A missed opportunity. Over the course of months in the uprising in the state of Iran over elections in 2009 – A general strike, which was peaceful, resulted in the death, imprisonment and torture, of Iranian’s who had peacefully taken to the streets – in one stunning incident (there were many) –the Iranian forces refused to fight those who were peacefully protesting, so the Ayatollah’s called in mercenaries from outside Iran, who, on motorcycles, used axes and other means chop through the crowds – it was a state of barbaric control, and throughout - there was little coming from the national media or the Whet House – one could have heard a pin drop. The screams for help from the Iran’s (Persians) being persecuted, went largely ignored. A hint from the newly minted President Obama that there was support for the uprising, apparently materialized 3 weeks into the slaughter, when the window of opportunity was long gone.

Had there been a hint early one, while nations such as Canada and Italy were doing their utmost to protect individuals by bringing them into embassies on the ground, perhaps, just perhaps, the regime might have taken notice,. Moreover, with some indirect aid – having troops on both borders of Iran (Iraq/Afghanistan) – aid in the form of weapons, electronics, etc., would have changed the course of history. Yet, there were crickets

Now, as Iran has exceeded exceptional in nuclear arms development, the crisis is upon Western Leaders, and something must be done (not to mention the son of Sam who’s running N. Korea. Should the U.S., perhaps send over a few drones to strike at known nuclear targets (they can borrow Intel from the Israeli’s, if need be), that would set off a direct conflict between Iran and the west (as they threaten the entire Western World, and it would put North Korean on notice, that there is yet another “cowboy” in the White House.

The Israeli’s believe President Obama has this intent: that he will strike Iran if diplomacy fails this year (Times of Israel)

However, the press is somewhat dismissive of the intent of the President to strike, taking a more pragmatic approach in passing the less than vied threat form President Obama (See Reuters’ article)

It is this opinion, In no uncertain terms, the President is a Hawk, one who has involved the U.S. directly and indirectly in geopolitical conflicts over the past few years (Libya, Egypt), therefore, the Iranians cannot be dismissive of President Obama – and if so, their failure to understand will be their undoing.

One might call the President a Paper Tiger, or critique his foreign policy as somewhat erratic, hwoever; he has been consistent in sending both troops and military aid (in real goods, or cash) to those nations that are seeking a chance in government.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Massachusetts Special Senate Election Update – Gomez, Sullivan, Winslow – first debate. Gomez Releases Letter to Governor – All Hades Breaks Loose

Mass Special Election GOP Candidates during Debate - image Boston Globe

The Massachusetts Special Election primary to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat (John Kerry), will take place this April, with both major political parties offering choices of 2 to 3 candidates in a closed primary. One is only able to vote in the primary if one is unenrolled and declares a party, or one is registered as either a Republican or Democrat. The Democrats have offered up two U.S. Congressmen, Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch. While the Republican race offers three; Dan Winslow, (State Representative), Michael Sullivan (former U.S. Attorney) and Gabriel Gomez (political neophyte). The three Republican’s met in a debate on Tuesday where the issues of the day were discussed, along with trivial, humanizing questions such as a favorite junk food. (NECN - video)

During the debate, the subject of a letter written by Gomez to Governor Deval Patrick, asking the Governor to consider Gomez for an interim replacement to fill the Senate seat until the election took place, has apparently become somewhat of a sticking point. Gomez vowed to release the letter to the public during the debate (Boston Herald). The contents of the letter were summarily touted by the by the Boston Globe as Gomez reaching across the aisle They also included a handy PDF which can be downloaded and shared here.

In the letter, Gomez informs the Governor that he is a “moderate” Republican, one who supported Barack Obama in 2008, and also is supportive of the Presidents Gun Ban as well as his Immigration Reform policies. In a nutshell, while on the campaign trail, it appears that Gomez, is much like Kerry in his ability to “flip-flop” on issues, as noted in several GOP activist emails flying through cyberspace (with the PDF attached.)

Understanding that the actual Massachusetts GOP is diverse, made up of those moderates, those country club Republican’s, those Libertarian, those Right-wing Conservatives and yes, Tea Party Members, one might have burned that letter and taken back all copies before releasing it prior to a primary.

On the flip side, Gomez, a father of four, may have had a reaction to the sudden screaming for Banning Guns by those who legally own them (i.e. the 2nd Amendment), or he may have been attempting to jump ahead of the curve, by sounding like a progressive Democrat (i.e. extreme moderate), in order to stand a chance of getting into a position without the need for a primary. The previous is, of course, sheer speculation.

In any event, the race, as it stands, appears to be exciting the national media, and of course, the state media, as Lynch and Markey are about as exciting as watching paint dry. One might want to take early bets on either Winslow or Sullivan to pull out of this primary, to face either (most likely) Markey or Lynch in what will be the most boring election in Massachusetts history. Gomez, at least garnered some excitement, given his youth and compelling story, and may have given either of the two Bay State Congressmen a run for their money, however, that may be less likely at this point.

With approximately a month before the primary, the situation may change, and Gomez may be “forgiven” his stance on gun control. However, one must remember, in the land of Smith & Wesson, in a state that is seeing an increase in a call for new gun permits, and a lack of supplies at area gun shops, it may have behooved the political newcomer to choose another topic in an attempt to ingratiate himself with the Governor.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The New Victims - Veterinarian’s Warn Pet’s To Suffer At Expense of Obamacare Tax on Medical Devices – The Free Market Vs. Obama-Care – The Need to Defund and Reform

Many elderly are treated with therapy dogs - Tax on medical devices in Obama Care threatens both: Great article at Your Houston asking for Volunteers with Therapy dogs -

Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) infamous quip, “We must pass the bill before we find out what’s in it..away from the fog of Washington, has startled American pet owners who are going to have to budget more for pet care. The bill contains a tax on medical devices, which has already had an impact on the human population. According to the Medical Device Manufactures Association, “The $20B tax was included in the Affordable Care Act that was signed into law in 2010. The amount is based on a 2.3% excise tax that will be levied on the total revenues of a company, regardless of whether a company generates a profit, starting in 2013. Many companies will owe more in taxes than they generate from their operations. The result will be devastating to innovation, patient care and job creation.” The tax on these companies has already resulted in increased unemployment due to layoffs, and many of these companies are no longer investing in research and development.

What is a medical device? ” A medical device is any instrument, apparatus, appliance, material or other article, whether used alone or in combination, together with any accessories or software for its proper functioning, intended by the manufacturer to be used for human beings in the:

  • Diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment or alleviation of disease, injury or handicap,
  • Investigation, replacement or modification of the anatomy or of a physiological process, or
  • Control of conception,

  • and which does not achieve its principal intended action in or on the human body by pharmacological, immunological or metabolic means, but which may be assisted in its function by such means.'
    ( In layman’s terms, hip replacements, pacemakers, iv’s and yes, birth control devices, such as an IUD or “ring”. Therefore, this tax will affect the elderly, women, athletes, and anyone who requires hospitalization and the use of an IV, including one’s dog or cat.

    According to CBS Local Miami: Obamacare May Bite You At The Vet’s Office. Apparently, certain devices are used by both physicians and veterinarians in the care of their respective patients. These are devices such as IV pumps, sterile scalpels and anesthesia equipment. Expect the cost of this tax to be passed onto the consumer, just as the medical device tax will be passed onto consumers at their hospital or clinic. As the rise in health care costs are affected by yet another tax, health insurance premiums also rise.

    The problem is exasperated by the “waivers” given to special interest groups by Washington – exempting those groups from enjoying the benefits of Obamacare – this includes unions, and federal employees, including members of Congress who signed a bill they never read.

    The only way to push down the rising costs of health care is to increase competition among insurance providers. As it now stands, individual states limit the number of available insurers. This results in a very few for profit organizations sharing the “pool” of healthy individuals versus those requiring expensive medical care. In order to absorb the costs, the carriers increase insurance premiums. If there were more carriers in a state, the burden on each carrier would be reduced – and there would be a drop in premium prices as well as other marketing options such as reduced co-pays, and deductions in order for these companies to compete.

    In Massachusetts, where the precursor to Obama Care was already in place for several years, the rise in Health Insurance Premiums ranged up to 20% each year. In addition, due to the number of individuals who neither had employer provided health insurance, or the money to afford the Insurance provided thorough eh State’s “Commonwealth Care”, waivers were introduced in order to provide tax relief (in the form of the tax penalty) to those individuals. Therefore, a growing number of families and individuals in Massachusetts do not have health insurance and the likelihood of those individuals going to the doctors for routine visits, are slim to nothing.

    Perhaps they (the Administration and Congress - should have done an honest study, prior to writing any bills, and then signing them to find out what they contained). Further, in weighing his decision on the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act – Chief Justice Roberts, upheld the bill as it was, and remains an additional tax on the American Public. – The nation has now become a microcosm of Massachusetts – and that does not bode well for those, middle class families, who will now find themselves searching for ways out of the paying the penalty for not having health insurance. It is more than likely, that the Massachusetts model of shoving those individuals and families under the rug, and giving them a “waiver” from the “tax” will be implemented. In this case, more families will go uninsured and uncounted.

    In addition now, that tax has been extended, not only to individual and families but to the animals that they hold near and dear, some of those animals being medical devices themselves! It is clear that the use of dogs for therapy has been growing over the years, from those used to help the disabled, to those who are now helping veterans and others with the effects of PDST. Dogs are known to calm individuals as well as detect problems an individual maybe suffering.

    There are worthy aspects of the Affordable Health Care Act – specifically those that are designed to offer extended insurance for those under the age of 26 by allowing them to stay on a parents plan (of course, in Massachusetts, if one’s parent is except, one is out of luck), or those that have pre-existing conditions (those subsidized patients have found the funds have run out, and those that now are applying for insurance having pre-existing conditions are also – out of luck)(

    Again, the only answer for this conundrum we, as a nation face, is an increase in competition, taking the oversight of health insurance out of Washington DC and giving it back to the individual, who would then have choices. Those who could not afford health care at all would still be covered by Medicaid. Only, with a decrease in the overall cost of premiums, those numbers would decrease, as the federal government passes these costs to the states, the states could, if necessary, fund the newly reduced medical plans, rather than administering the program. (See Commonwealth Care)

    It is the simple solutions that are so lost on the allegedly “brilliant”.

    Now, when one is concerned about finding the cash to pay for their beloved dog’s life saving treatment, or perhaps, pay for a new hip, they can lay the blame clearly on those responsible – The individual seeking a legacy as one who gave the nation Health Care that was “Affordable” and those who blindly went forth and shoved this down the people’s throats. Of course, in 2010, the people stood up and booted a good percentage of those to the curb in an election that resulted in historic losses for Democrats (without making this too partisan, the blame must lay where the blame must lay). Further, unless and until, there are members of Congress and the Senate who will actually work together, and do something other than work towards heir next election, it appears that we all, including our pets, are at the mercy of the ever encroaching government. The only option is to vote, and to watch for those who vote multiple times! (See Ohio, and voting problems in 2012, easily Google, Ohio voted twice, Ohio voted 6 times – and one gets the point of the depths politician’s will go to in order to maintain power.)

    At this point, if one has extra funds, and a soft spot for pets, contact your local shelter that provides care, or extends care to families who will no longer be able to afford to keep their beloved dog alive and donate. (For the entire article on the effects of the Obama Care Medical Device Tax on pets go to: Moreover, it would behoove the nation to elect more doctor’s rather than lawyers at this point in time

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

    2016 – Speculation Taking Shape, Polling has begun, Clinton, Rubio, Christie, Ryan, Bush III

    One might think Senator Paul has made a decision - rather people (and businesses selling cups, stickers, etc.) are hopeful - image from the Jeenyus Corner

    It goes without saying that the political arena, not unlike Professional Wrestling, is a sport that draws in a segment of the population that is always seeking the “next best”, yet generally winds up rooting for the “lesser of two evils” team. With each election cycle there is hope, and then, those hopes are dashed, no matter who the candidate may be – and no matter which side of the political fence one sits upon.

    2016 is starting to look eerily similar to those past elections, yet, dollars to doughnuts the actual contenders are those that are not yet in the spotlight – hopefully.

    Quinnipiac Polling got the ball rolling with a hypothetical match-up between Hillary Clinton and ”top 2016 GOP Presidential Picks”, Chris Christie, Mark Rubio and Paul Ryan. In this poll, Clinton bests all three by double digits. (CP Poll) Of course, that poll was conducted prior to Rand Paul’s magnificent stand in the Senate, or prior to the Bush dynasty rolling out former FL Governor, Jeb Bush as a potential.

    One should understand that although it appears the spot “belongs” to Hillary Clinton, considering her own party ditched her popular vote for the more progressive and younger Barack Obama, that said, all will depend on the mood of the nation by the time 2016 rolls around. In addition, it also greatly depends on the GOP and those who would pick a McCain or a Romney rather than someone who would actually energize the base as well as appeal to individuals on both sides of the aisle. Additionally someone who would honestly treat the media, as the media is going to treat them and be prepared to go head to head, not only with the group of GOP hopefuls, but the Press and the crazies from both parties.

    It is with a heavy heart, that as a feminist would felt that 2008 was a no-brainer, with an adept Clinton leading the field of lightweights and the inexperienced (from both tickets) one fears that that ship has sailed. Although she had pulled away from the Obama Administration early enough, there is that connection, her health (which can be used by her competitors, her opposition and the media) and the dark side of her party, who would choose another half-term Senator, a woman, rather than allow Clinton her “due”. Unfortunately, one cannot just vote for “any” woman, no matter how “pretty” a picture that woman might make (or grandmotherly, take your pick) – It is confidence and quality - and the fact that historically there was a three decade gap between the first woman to grace a major party presidential ticket (Democrats, Ferarro), and the last to do so (Republican’s Palin).

    The polling turns: A Recent McClatchy-Marist Poll shows a general downturn in popularity (both personal and job performance) for the President, as well a general dislike to both parties in Congress – although the Democrats fare slightly better, their numbers are not much to crow about. The Republicans’ find themselves on the right side of the budget cuts, but by a mere 2 points, compared to the President, in other words there exists a general distrust for both parties.

    Enter Rand Paul – Dr. Filibuster, and the son of Ron Paul, the perennial Libertarian – GOP candidate who has, what one might think a small following, but it is a significantly motivated following. Rand Paul, unlike his father is getting press that puts him in contention. He is to be admired as a principled servant of the people and his Libertarian streak is what causes groups as diverse as Code Pink and the hard right to applaud his efforts.

    There are those who already speculate that he is running in 2016 - That he will be a major player, the Washington Post, for one, and the UK’s Guardian suggests Paul’s odds are better than most at this time.

    Then again, Jeb Bush is out there, and although he may be extremely capable – imagine the yawn, a Bush-Clinton match-up might be?

    Should the good Doctor decide to run, (at the moment he is bolstering his 2016 Senate Campaign), it would be all bets off – but again – it is far too early to tell. One things is certain, what the nation needs is someone who is not wedded to either major political party – one that is capable of pushing aside the leadership and their status quo of divisive politics, to lead both the right and the left – similar to, but not Ronald Reagan, (the litmus test must go) rather a new breed of servant that would lead with the intent to put the people over the political machine.

    Monday, March 11, 2013

    Sen. Rand Paul, A week post Filibuster, Editorials, right, left and center, overall applauding, speculating from the New York Times to Anchorage – what unites us?

    In a world of the 24/7 news cycle, generally what happened yesterday is old news – or perhaps, if “interesting enough” at least a 2 day event – there is the rare exception indeed when one man, one event, can hold the attention span of the American Public for nearly a week. That man, Senator Rand Paul, (R-KY), has done so with his 13 hour Filibuster and the toxic response of Republican Leadership, specifically John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who both dismissed and attacked Paul. It was to their discredit, as Paul had certainly struck a nerve regarding civil liberties that spanned parties’ lines, had the attention of the world, and was, for all intents and purposes, genuine. It was not the usual rhetoric one finds droning on in the hallowed halls of Congress – pun intended.

    For many, it was the first time in a lifetime one saw members of both parties standing united on an issue, and using the protocol of the Senate to make a stand. For others, they will not be able to miss the event, as the news cycle is continuing to either support or dismiss the Senator and his actions. There are also those, on both sides who see 2016 and Paul Rand as a potential candidate – from Libertarian Conservatives as a hopeful and from the left – the seeds are being sown now, preemptively.

    In a piece from the New York Times, editorial columnist Ross Douthat opines “But where Huntsman and Paul the elder mostly failed, Rand Paul has been enjoying remarkable success. The Kentucky senator’s recent ascent to prominence, which achieved escape velocity with last week’s 13-hour filibuster delaying the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee to lead the C.I.A., hasn’t just made the younger Paul one of the most talked-about politicians in Washington today. It has offered the first real sign that the Republican Party might someday escape the shadow of the Iraq war and enter the post-post-9/11 era.”

    The editorial focuses on the specifics of the filibuster and its overall content, including a glimpse away from civil liberties and into foreign policy. The articles closes:

    “Paul, by contrast, has actually challenged that consensus in a substantive and constructive way. And far from being excommunicated for it, he’s been rewarded with greater prominence and increased conservative support.

    For those with ears, let them hear.”

    This editorial was picked up today by a variety of newspapers, including the Rutland Herald.

    A Dallas Morning News Op-ed suggests that McCain, Graham, and their ilk, get out of the way of the younger, more civil liberty minded Paul, noting that they are content to get along, rather than to do the job for which they were sent. The piece is biting in its criticism of the two senior Senators, and gracious to Sen. Paul.

    The Anchorage Daily News picked up the Senator’s rebuttal to those on the right, first published days before, “Our Rights are Precious” (That’s why I filibustered)

    From AntiWar Blogs to the Richmond Register There is positive chatter regarding Paul’s defense of liberty.

    Then one begins to see the telltale signs of a threat to the status quo and any possible political aspirations that the Senator may have (yet has not so much as mentioned): From the very nature of his parentage (specifically his father, Ron Paul), to the Filibuster itself one finds such articles as the examiners: Rand Paul’s Filibuster will Hurt Him Against Hillary in 2016 it is apparent that the man who would do the job he was elected to do – it seen as a threat.

    What, in reality, is at issue, is the fact that the Senator from Kentucky brought attention to the process of government, he stood his ground, and in an old-fashioned, yet so new to so many who had no idea that watching C-Span might not be akin to watching paint dry – became vested in the message of protecting civil liberties. In the following days, those who are from the right and the left of politics, seemed to agree on two points: one, that those who may argue consistently, found this one man agreeable, and two, the old guard, as it is referred to in so many pieces, were rankled, weather it was due to being upstaged, or more to the point, Paul shook up the building and brought attention to that august body – perhaps more will be tuning in.

    In speaking of a run in 2016, it is not unusual for many a straw to be grasped upon this early in the game (although in reality, the game began in January of this year), as the old guard drags out Jeb Bush, and one see’s the signs that some of the players from 2008 and 2012 are on short and long-lists as potentials. One might suspect that, given the response Paul has received, both at home and abroad, either the man himself or his equivalent (should one be found) would upend the entire field – on both sides of the aisle. The American public has had it with those who would divide, and are yearning for someone who, not only campaigns on uniting, but has actually done something to prove that he has that ability. To boot, Paul never wavered from his core beliefs this past week, and should he stay in that frame (with no indication he would not), then he would be a sane choice for the American People. He also communicated clearly, without pause for 13 hours, something that has been lacking in the “Shining City on the Hill” – That is what united us. Of course, at this point, one has no clue as to who the major players in Washington will chose to either win or lose the Presidency in 2016. That said, someone who has the ability to drive a news cycle, and communicate clearly across party ideology – is indeed someone one might want to keep an eye on.

    Suggest reading the entire article by Ross Douthat in the Times, noted above for perspective.

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